In 2007, my husband Mark and I bought a 35ft catamaran in Annapolis, Maryland, called it Irie, and sailed into the sunset. We had no idea how long the adventure would last or where we’d end up. Our first destination was the Bahamas and we planned to live this cruising lifestyle until “we ran out of money”, or “it wasn’t fun anymore”. To document our journey and experiences, and as an alternative to writing group emails, which I had done my whole (traveling) life, I started my first blog. I called the website It’s Irie. Comments were rare; the availability of internet defined when I posted and whether I could upload photos. The blog continued as long as our sailing trip; eight years.
When we sold Irie in Tahiti, French Polynesia, and moved to the US for the time being, I wanted to start a new blog. It took me forever to find a suitable name, that was still available as a domain name and that would be fitting and timeless. Roaming About was born in October 2015, the same time we started a new, boat-less, lifestyle of house and pet sitting. I entered an era where blogging had become more popular and serious. My sailing friend Lisa of One Ocean at a Time suggested a few of her favorite blogs to me. “When you read these blogs and leave a comment, their wonderful authors will return the favor,” she wrote in an email. That’s how my social interactions with fellow bloggers began.
By following some of these people’s blogs and communicating through comments, I felt like I was getting to know them on a personal level. I was making new friends in the blogging world. But, it was all still on a virtual level, where photos of the blog authors only helped so much. The next best thing, was to meet some of these new friends in real life. The first time that happened, was almost a year ago, when Mark and I met Sue and Dave from Travel Tales of Life, during our first house sit in Northern California. These Canadian adventurers treated us to dinner and we had a fabulous time.
Temporarily moving to California seemed to open a lot of doors, when it came to some of my favorite North American bloggers. When this particular house sit in Rocklin, CA, ended, Terri from Second Wind Leisure Perspectives (who posts about leisure, fitness, photography topics, and provides free photos), graciously offered us a place to stay, to fill part of our gap in between house sits. We met Terri and her husband Hans in Sacramento, and spent two fun evenings together. My blogging family was growing, and it was so nice to put a face to the names online.
During a short house sit in Southern California not much later, Mark and I drove down to San Diego, to meet Janis from Retirementally Challenged, and her husband Paul. Janis writes about her retired lifestyle, travels and things to be grateful for. Once again, time flew by too quickly and the interesting conversations could have lasted through the night. Unfortunately, we were on a tight schedule. To read about my meetings with Terri and Janis earlier this year, check out this post.
The Grand Finale (for now) in the form of a real two-day blogger gathering, took place last week in Palm Desert. Here, Donna from Retirement Reflections, Kathy from Smart Living 365, Janis, Terri, and I would get together for drinks, meals, girl-time and blog-talk. Unfortunately, I could not make it, due to my new pet sitting commitments.
But… Two weeks prior to that, after our National Park tour in Utah, Mark and I made a little detour to Palm Desert before starting our current house sit in San Diego. I met Kathy (who encourages her blog and book readers to follow a simple, sustainable and rewarding lifestyle she calls “rightsizing”) and Donna (who blogs about her transition into retirement, insights and travel notes) for the first time. Once again, the evening and following morning were a success. We have a lot of things in common and our open-mindedness, curiosity and adventurous spirits made for no dull moments. It appeared as if I was meeting old friends.
The same thing happened when Janis and I saw each other again during my first week in San Diego, earlier this month. We had a healthy lunch together, shared our latest news, and she showed me around the city. I am expecting the same familiarity and fun social times, when Terri visits San Diego later this year.
So, while I enjoy writing about our experiences and travels, and love sharing our lifestyles and photos with my blog readers, getting to meet fellow bloggers in person is a highlight of different sorts. Without exception, I have enjoyed coming face to face with all these interesting people, and, since our current lifestyle involves lots of moving around and not being part of any community, you can probably understand how big of a bonus this is, has been, and will be!
All five bloggers involved in the recent meet-ups in Palm Desert, California, wrote posts about those events today. To read Donna’s take on the blogger gatherings, click here. Kathy’s story can be found here. Janis’ insights are recorded here. And, Terri’s recap is composed here. Have fun meeting these incredible ladies, if you haven’t already!
Have you met any bloggers you follow in real life? Have you gone to any blogger gatherings?